How Proper Wild Tripled Their Conversion Rates with Free Shipping [Case Study]

Learn how beverage company Proper Wild found the best tech-enabled fulfillment partner in ShipBob while launching their energy shot brand.


Customer Profile

Based in New York City, Proper Wild’s mission is to deliver energy shots with clean and transparent ingredients, without compromising your health. Even with an impressive shelf life, there are no preservatives or artificial sweeteners — just a natural, great tasting 2.5 oz. energy shot that you can take on the go.

Vincent Bradley Proper Wild

Key metrics:

  • 612% growth since the COVID-19 pandemic began
  • 50 states actively shipping to
  • 9-month old company
  • 3x conversion rate from free shipping
  • 2.5 ounces per energy shot
  • 2 ShipBob fulfillment center utilized so far

Founded in 2018 by a team of engineers, designers, athletes, and foodies that really care about health and nutrition, Proper Wild sells delicious plant-based energy shots made with clean ingredients.

Unlike preservatives and artificial sweeteners you find in other energy shots and drinks, Proper Wild’s ingredients are backed by science such as organic caffeine from green tea and L-Theanine, a proven combination to keep your brain fueled and boost your energy, focus, and productivity for hours.

With flavors like ginger, blackberry, and peach mango, these colorful, natural juices are tasty and healthy. Each energy shot has only 25 calories with no added sugars, and is vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, and dairy-free.

The Proper Wild team is passionate about quality and satisfaction. Across their four founding members, they’ve started nearly 10 companies.

Although they have a very senior and experienced team, this was their first foray into consumer packaged goods (CPG) — not an easy feat for a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, where customer acquisition costs are high for beverages and people can be apprehensive when it comes to purchasing a pack in bulk online for the first time.

We sat down with CEO & Co-Founder Vincent Bradley to learn more about how Proper Wild is shaking up the energy shot industry.

Launching a DTC CPG brand

As told to ShipBob by Vincent Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Proper Wild.

proper wild peach mango shotMy co-founders and I started Proper Wild after having stomach issues from drinking too much coffee. We liked the idea of energy shots but didn’t enjoy the sugary gas station shots or the shelf life of juices.

We couldn’t find anything we liked ourselves, and there seemed to be a massive opportunity to disrupt the industry.

The energy shot market is a billion dollar category dominated primarily by one company, and it’s seemingly the last CPG vertical that hasn’t gone healthy — even ice cream brands offer vegan options, and you can find healthy soda and candy bars today.

At the end of 2019 we launched, and our science-backed approach to product development has paid off. We have very loyal customers who buy or subscribe to 18-packs, which take anywhere from 10-60 days to consume.

We knew from day one that we didn’t want to touch fulfillment, so we set out to find the right fulfillment partner.

Shipping yourself in the early days is probably a better option and is less expensive, especially if you’re still trying to find product-market fit, but we had a high level of confidence and certainty that we were going to grow month over month as soon as we launched.

Finding the right tech-enabled 3PL

My co-founders and I come from the software side of business. With our tech backgrounds and small team, having a good UI/UX was very important to us when investing in a new technology and partner.

We looked at several fulfillment platforms, and a lot of legacy platforms get a 1 or 2/10 when it comes to software. While ShipBob is not the cheapest, they have the greatest user experience and by far the best fulfillment software.

ShipBob’s software is well-thought through, the analytics are nice with useful data tables, and the flow of sending and receiving products is good. ShipBob is one of the best softwares we use in addition to Shopify, which integrate into each other.

We also use tools like Klaviyo, Yotpo, Recharge, Gorgias for customer support, Avalara, and other tools that ShipBob partners with.

“We are focusing solely on the US market for now and are selling in all 50 states. ShipBob’s fulfilling customer orders from our Shopify store including subscription orders. It’s really easy; it’s their bread and butter — those orders happen and just get fulfilled.”

Vincent Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Proper Wild

Completing self-onboarding through the ShipBob Growth Plan

proper wild's peach mango natural energy shotHaving been a pre-launch company when we started with ShipBob, we went through their Growth Plan, which is their self-onboarding process for small or new brands. We got started with ShipBob within hours, without ever needing to talk to a sales rep or anybody else.

You definitely don’t need any technical chops or capabilities. It’s ‘idiot-proof,’ but if you need help with any back-end stuff, they’re very accessible.

ShipBob’s customer service is good, and I like that I can always get someone on the phone or to respond to emails right away. They are very helpful and know what they’re doing. I can think back to one big operations mistake that was made early on, but ShipBob’s customer service was awesome at fixing it.

“Having ShipBob as a partner is awesome. We can completely outsource storage and fulfillment for DTC channels with only having to spend a max of 4-5 hours per week on small tasks like canceling orders for customers.”

Vincent Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Proper Wild

What’s next for Proper Wild

proper wild martiniI envision a future of Proper Wild being an omnichannel business in a safe manner, where consumers fall in love with the product from trying it in-store first, then subscribing online.

We’ve recently closed some deals and will get in retail at the end of this year. Then we’ll scale nationally into grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and pharmacies.

Proper Wild will move into other categories too and offer new product lines.

We introduced a martini shot product into the NYC bar scene, where it was the number one selling happy hour drink at the five bars we tested it at. We’re hoping to get this product into hotel mini bars across the country as well.

We want to spend our time optimizing our funnel, getting ready for our retail expansions, and working on all of the marketing that’s going to make us successful. Having ShipBob to outsource our picking, packing, and shipping has been really helpful for us.

We offer free shipping on all orders, which is important in the DTC CPG space. In fact, doing so increased our conversion rate by 3x.

We’re already in two of ShipBob’s fulfillment centers on both coasts to reduce zones and keep our products closer to our customers. Moving into more fulfillment centers over time will help us further optimize costs.

“ShipBob has been a great partner for us. We would 100% not be where we are today without having a great 3PL partner for our DTC business.”

Vincent Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Proper Wild

Learn more

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